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German English Translator Directories

Need a German English translator?  Or trying to sell your translation services?

Then it’s definitely worth considering using an online translator directory.

These directories function as a service platform: translators bid for translation jobs posted by businesses and individuals wishing to purchase translation services.

Usually a directory will have a database of several thousands of translators who have registered with them, providing translation services in a multitude of language combinations.

Nowadays a German English translator and/or translation agencies can run their entire business without meeting clients or colleagues face-to-face.
Rather a startling concept, really.

I’ve made a list of the major directories, and added a short description of their features, and my – completely personal - observations.

And translators, don't forget: Membership costs are a deductible business expense.

Many German English translators will use directories as their sole source of jobs. I don’t, but I’ve signed up to several of the following to test them, and these are my impressions so far:

ProZ (proz.com)

With around 300,000 signed up translators and interpreters, ProZ appears to be the most serious and professional of the online communities. A year’s membership currently costs around €120, although there are often special offers.

For the German English translator:
• Your own profile page (like this).
• Automatically presents available jobs in your language pair.
• Translation competitions – put your skills to the test (anonymously) and let members vote for the best translation in your language pair!
• Regular “webinars” on specialist translation software & periodic discounts on software, conferences, membership etc.
• Online glossaries and reference sources, KudoZ forum (get noticed by providing answers to posted questions)
• Useful networking features – local groups of freelancers often meet up for informal coffee and discussions in the physical world.

I would say, if you are serious about translating, then this is probably the one to sign up to (purely personal opinion, and I get nothing for making this recommendation!) You can try out free membership for a while but don’t kid yourself – paid-up members will always get preferential treatment.

There is huge competition for the jobs posted in popular language combinations, and this always puts downward pressure on prices. But it pays for itself a networking and information platform, rather than a direct source of income.

For translation companies/purchasers of translation services:
• ProZ.com Connect! Is the name of their system. Clients can post jobs which, according to the client’s specified requirements, are then automatically presented to the most suitable translators in the database.
• ProZ has recently recreated its own Certified PRO Network, an “inner circle” of translators who have endorsed ProZ’s professional guidelines & undergone a screening process to check on their qualifications and references. The aim is to provide clients with the confidence that the freelance translators they employ meet a certain standard. After all, sadly anyone can call themselves a translator.

GoTranslators (gotranslators.com)

GoTranslators advertises itself as the only translator database in 30 languages. They have around 34,000 registered freelancers and 4,500 agencies on their books. For me here in Austria, membership costs EUR 55 per year – but membership prices reflect location and so will vary.

For the German English translator:
When I started out in translation I joined all the translator communities to test them. And this is the only one which has generated custom with free membership! I now have a regular client in China for whom I do sporadic German to English transcription 6 translation work (globalization gone mad!)

• They offer a free trial period although I find my own contact details still in their lists. Paid up members get their own mini-website, and emails with job postings if desired.
• They put together a list of translations agencies (currently around 6,000) from information garnered from the web, which is free for members to download and contact. (Agencies must specifically request GoTranslators if they wish to be removed from the list.)
• There’s black list of companies who have bad payment records (although all directories have to be very careful about publishing these lists because of the risk of slander).

For translation companies/purchasers of translation services:

Simply specify your desired language combination and subject area. It is not yet clear to me what fees are involved – hard to find information on their site.

Translator's Base (translatorsbase.com)

Although it has the best Alexa ranking of all the directories (internet popularity), it doesn’t strike me that the site has been signed primarily to benefit the translator. 2700 German English translators are registered with Translator's Base.

I signed up out of interest, but I have to say I’m not overly impressed. The site is designed to match up translators with clients, so I signed up for a free account. Emails notifying me of job opportunities tell me that if I want to get in contact with the job poster and make a bid, then I need full membership which costs US$ 129 per year.

They also offer full membership with website for US$ 229 a year. The pre-designed websites seems to be pre-furnished with syndicated articles on translation.

This is actually clever marketing – most of the websites appear to be a subdirectory of translatorsbase (addresses are www.youname.translatorsbase.com) - so you pay to help translatorsbase to get more content and reach.

TIP! If you're serious about a career as a freelance German translator you need your own website. But to get genuinely noticed on the web you need a website like the one you’re reading now. After all, you found me!

Language123 (language123.com)

Although they only have 29,400 registered freelancers, over 1,700 of whom are German to English translators, Language123 is well up in the Alexa rankings, so must be doing something right even. Memberships costs US$ 140 a year.

For the German English translator:
Non–paying members get their own personal profile page and even an interesting blog feature to let you enhance your web presence. It is more of a translator database than an interactive platform for translators, and doesn’t have nearly as many features as competitors such as ProZ. But if you are just looking to find jobs and make yourself known on the net then this may well be enough.

For translation companies/purchasers of translation services:
Just post your job on their website and pay the translator directly. No fees are charged by Language123.com and there is no need to be pre-registered.

Translators Cafe (translatorscafe.com)

This directory has 98,000 registered users and 4,600 agencies. There seem to be around 100 German English translators on their database. No information about membership costs are given unless you have already registered at a free member!

For the German English translator:
• Paid up members are referred to as Master members and naturally get priority when it comes to client exposure. They are also able to download the agency lists.
• Masters have their own customized profile at Translators Café, are automatically notified of relevant job offers.
• Similarly to ProZ, Translator’s Café have a section called TCTerms in which you can ask for help translating certain terms - it’s similar to the forum at the Leo German English dictionary, but of course only open for members.

Translator’s Café seems most similar to ProZ in terms of features, so I assume for most German English translators it will be a toss up between the two, according to taste.

For translation companies/purchasers of translation services:
Jobs can be posted on the TC Jobs Board. Signing up is free and you pay the translator directly (Paypal and Western Union services available).

Translation Directory (translationdirectory.com)

I have a slight suspicion that this website works better as a marketing tool for its own webmasters than as a platform for translators. If you register with them as a German English translator (free to sign up) then you are agreeing that Translation Directory may include your name in their register of freelance translators which they then sell. They also sell access to their list of blacklisted companies who have bad payment records. Their email newsletter and announcements via Yahoo groups provide little news and seem to be more an advertising tool for the site.
17,500 freelancers are registered with them and they have a database of 5,400 agencies – both only accessible if you pay.Limited number of job postings in the German-English combination.

Aquarius (aquarius.net)

Aquarius claims on its homepage to be the “longest standing online marketplace for translation and localization projects” and is based in the UK.

I registered to get a feel for their service, but they don’t provide much information about the number of German translators who belong etc. They offer free membership (which does allow you to quote for jobs) and business class member at € 100 (I presume per year) which, as to be expected, gives preferential listings in searches.

Aquarius has a forum for translators to post questions about translation terminology, and they actively encourage you to create networks of friends amongst the translators in their database. Overall, it has the feel of very much more simple ProZ. I haven’t bid for any of the jobs posted so far, so I have no idea about the expected price levels.

Foreign Word (foreignword.biz)

I came across foreignword.biz thanks to a comment on Translators Cafe and so decided to try it. I've signed up for free membership and have thus joined a "community of 7000 professionals". they claim to be offering an "unmatched free service on the web", both for translators looking for jobs and anyone posting jobs.

The site also encourages freelancer translators to try their Wordbee Translator CAT tool and then subscribe for 24 euros per month, which must be their source of income. In terms of potential freelance translation jobs for the German-English translator, I saw only one listing in our language combination for 2012, so I'm not sure how popular the site is. We'll see.

So which German English translator directory would I recommend?

Part of the skill of working as a freelance translator is organizing your time effectively. This includes having memberships of services that actually work.

My 2 cents?

Sign up for free membership of a few of these German English translator directories to try out their services and get an initial feel for them.

Then narrow down your activities to a couple, take paid membership and be an active member!

What with all your other vital business generation activities, like maintaining an effective web presence, your time is limited. Better to commit to being an active member of a few communities than flitting between them all.


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Joanna Scudamore-Trezek

I'm a German to English translator living and working in Vienna,  Austria.  I turn German texts into clear and accessible English, allowing clients to present their stories, ideas and information to a completely new audience. My business and marketing clients rely on me to get their message across clearly and effectively.  How can I help you today?